Sunday, April 14, 2024

We’re happy to make a racket to help the game grow

The UK Sports Minister Helen Grant shows her support for squash
The UK Sports Minister Helen Grant shows her support for squash at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone

Let your voice be heard: You can make a difference to our sport
By the Squash Mad Team

What do all these have in common: the Australian Open tennis, the Tournament of Champions squash, spoilt brats on court, the appointment of a PSA Referees’ Director, the England Squash funding situation, and the departure of their Chief Executive?

The answer is simple. All of these subjects have been covered by Squash Mad and all have generated enthusiastic and intelligent responses from our readers.

Cassie Thomas champFormer world champion Cassie Thomas (pictured right) provoked some interesting replies from the southern hemisphere as she wrote about her enjoyable experiences at the Australian Open tennis and described her disappointment at the current absence from the calendar of squash’s counterpart.

The comments highlighted the fact that sponsorship for tennis is much easier to attract because the sport enjoys a much higher profile.

Hopefully, this debate can help to provide some marketing material that can assist the process of creating tournaments at iconic locations.

The appointment of emerging coach Lee Drew as the PSA’s first Referees’ Director coincided with the staging of the Tournament of Champions inside Grand Central Station in New York.

Squash Mad contributor Matt Lombardi felt compelled to write an Open Letter to Lee after witnessing incidents on court that left him convinced that the three referees (or possibly more) should be seated closer to the action in a variety of locations, and especially the front corners.

As for England Squash, no sooner had we published an article recording a cut in funding from Sport England than ESR announced that chief executive Nick Rider would be stepping down.

The full title, of course, is England Squash and Racketball. We have already published articles from Richard Millman in the States expressing his puzzlement that a governing body should be in charge of two different (and in the USA) competing sports.

squashrackWell, we are pleased to report that Squash Mad is playing a central role in opening up dialogue with the US racquetball fraternity about some joint projects.

Hopefully, one day soon, we might see some kind of hybrid international series between Team USA and Team England.

Behind the scenes, we have also been involved in a number of initiatives that have led to US squash clubs trying out the English style of racketball. Indeed, some are already calling it K-Ball because our English spelling selects a K instead of a Q.

Other recent articles that have produced a sizeable postbag have been those from Richard Millman on the behaviour of children (and parents) at the US Junior Open, and a response from a Squash Mum here in the UK.

Our growing team of writers also includes Lee Drew on coaching, Gilly Lane, Mike Dale, Kristi Maroc, Pierre Bastien, Alex Wan, Matt Lombardi and Bob Kingsley.

We are grateful to Howard Harding for his invaluable support on an almost daily basis, and our thanks also go to Ted Gross at Daily Squash Report for teaming up on a variety of topics.

Between us, we are sparking a creative dialogue on a number of issues that have a massive impact on the sport we all love. Feel free to join the debate. You can comment on any article, or let us know if you feel strongly about any issue that needs an independent airing.

A massive Thank You from the Squash Mad Team.

Picture by Bryan Lintott 


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